In honor of The Society Pages’ tenth anniversary in 2022 we’re highlighting the contributions and ongoing work of our superb alumni!
We caught up with Evan Stewart, TSP alum, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and lead curator of longtime TSP partner blog Sociological Images.
When I think of TSP, “I’m particularly proud of the There’s Research on That blog,” said Stewart. “I spearheaded that with Doug and Chris when I was at [Minnesota]. It was super fun to work on that, because it felt like it was very much in line with TSP’s mission. Taking research that we were reading anyway, or stuff we knew was interesting, but didn’t really necessarily have public coverage. Because usually when a study comes out, there’s a big push to get it into the news, like, ‘a new study shows.’ There’s Research on That was a nice way to go back and be like, these pieces that may or may not have gotten media coverage when they came out, they may be a couple years old, but they’re still helping us understand the world today.”
Stewart also talked about how important TSP has been to his career. “One, TSP made me a great writer, which academia is not actually built to train you to do,” he said. “This was in big part because of Letta Page, in big part because of Doug and Chris’s mentorship, and peer mentorship, and really focusing on clear writing for a public audience.”
“Anyone who compliments my writing today, TSP had a big hand in that,” he said. “The second thing that I think is really important is that grad school teaches you to go deep on [a] topic and to really dig in and become an expert in a narrow field. But, I think that we underestimate the advantages that come from also having a good sense of breadth.”
“TSP gives you an opportunity to read in a lot of different areas, to learn the discipline of sociology,” Stewart said. “It gives you a sense of breadth that, for me, has been incredibly helpful in terms of both being a researcher who can do work that people seem to care about, because you need that breadth to ask interesting questions. And also, it’s been really instrumental in serving our students, because I work with a lot of grad students now. And the graduate students who come into your office are not all looking to work in your narrow topical area. And a lot of faculty say, well, you’re not quite in my area, I don’t know if I can help you. And because of TSP, my response gets to be, well, this isn’t quite my area, but let’s see if I know someone, or see if I know some work in this area where we can get started and see where we can move from there.